I Write Letters

Dear Britney Spears,

I admire your perseverance. I admire the fuck out of it.

I don't know how it is that you've managed to grow up in the way that you have, trying to navigate your way to adulthood as a woman—a difficult and confusing journey even when one isn't hyper-sexualized at a formative age, tasked with the responsibility of accounting for a professional image one doesn't even have the life experience to contexualize.

I honestly can't even begin to imagine what your life has been like, with paparazzi in your face 24 hours a day and every one of the millions of photos taken of you scrutinized for evidence of the smallest imperfections. Even contemplating trying to achieve body acceptance under those circumstances makes me weep for the pain I can only imagine your life has been at times.

The scrutiny, the ridicule, the unreasonable expectations, the impossible standards, the misogyny (oh, Maude, the misogyny!), the ubiquitous holding out of your failed marriages in particular as the Ultimate Evidence that the sanctity of marriage is a joke, as if you're the only straight divorcee on the planet, the cruel jokes about your anguished cry when you shaved your head, the mockery of the hair extensions you put in afterwards, the classist jokes about your background, the jokes about your family, your parenting skills, your addiction, your music, your talent… Jesus, girl, you've weathered a lot.

All on top of a job in which professional criticism is an integral part.

All before your 30th birthday.

And not only are you still going, but you've got the unbelievable fortitude and courage to release before-and-after-retouching images from your latest photo shoot for Candie. (Which, by the by, handily and cleverly turns the industry expectation that you continue to be a sex symbol to retain your career, on its head.)

[Click images to embiggen.]
Britney Spears has allowed the pre-airbrushed images from a shoot she took part in for fashion firm Candie's to be used ALONGSIDE the digitally-altered ones, so people can see the difference.

The 29-year-old singer made the extraordinary move in order to highlight the pressure exerted on women to look perfect.

…A source told the Daily Mirror newspaper: 'Britney is proud of her body - imperfections and all.'
As well you should be, sister.

And you should be proud like whoa of the inconceivable reserves of gumption and grit it takes to be publicly "imperfect"—which is a brave and transgressive act for any woman, no less one who's had to swim through the rivers of shit you have.

That you are still more likely to garner mention in the public sphere as a dismissive punchline than as an example of demonstrable strength and resilience is as grim a travesty as it is marked evidence of how truly fucked up this culture is.

We keep trying to break you, and you just keep being unbreakable.


With love and admiration,

P.S. Related Reading: Quote of the Day; The Rebellyon Continues…

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